Trustees disqualified after they were unable to account for £1m of charitable funds

Five former trustees have been disqualified from senior charity positions after they were unable to account for £1m of charitable funds that was purportedly sent to Iraq.

The Charity Commission said it had concluded its statutory inquiry into the Orphan Relief Fund and Charitable Trust, which was registered in 1990 with objects of supporting young people in Iraq who had lost one or more of their parents.

A report on its inquiry into the charity, published by the regulator today, says it opened an investigation into the now-defunct organisation in 2017 after identifying serious concerns about its governance and financial management.

The regulator said these included trustees being unable to provide any evidence for how just under £1m of charitable funds that was apparently transferred from its account for use in Iraq had been spent.

The inquiry report says the regulator found failings by five of the charity’s trustees, in addition to being unable to account for the £1m, including a lack of proper financial controls and not properly protecting more than £10,000 in charitable funds that were paid to the chair “for his own personal expenditure”.

The report says: “Despite assertions that this money had been repaid to the Iraqi-based charity, no evidence was offered to support this claim.”

The regulator said it removed the chair, Wathib Salman Al-Amood, meaning he has been automatically disqualified from being a trustee of any other charity without securing a waiver from the commission.

Four trustees – Ahmed Al-Amood, Husham Al-Amood, Bushra Al Neama and Sulieman Adam – resigned when the inquiry was opened.

The regulator said the trustees had been disqualified for eight years from being a trustee or senior manager for any charity in England and Wales.

The Orphan Relief Fund and Charitable Trust was dissolved and removed from the charity register in September.

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